Election 2020

Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis, Martha McSally: Tuesday's Stunning Primary Results

Then U.S. Rep. (now Senator) Martha McSally, R-Ariz., waits to speak at a rally, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Tuesday was a night of drama and upsets, with political heavyweights and unlikely candidates winning primary races in Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma. In Republican circles, loyalty to Trump prevailed, while identity politics and the democratic socialism of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rode to victory among Democrats.

Governor races carry strong weight this year, as state legislatures will handle redistricting following the 2020 census.

Here is a short breakdown of results.

Arizona.

There were few surprises in the Grand Canyon State last night. As expected, Gov. Doug Ducey soared to victory in the Republican primary, with over 70 percent of the vote. Arizona State University professor David Garcia won the Democratic nomination with just under 50 percent of the vote.

While Ducey has hit rocky approval numbers, Garcia has come under fire for his identity politics campaign. Garcia infamously declared that “somebody with my last name needs to win.” He also hired a digital director, Xenia Orona, who had called America a “sh*thole country” and attacked the very idea of law enforcement as racist. She resigned after PJ Media broke the story, but not without leaving doubt as to the true motivations behind Garcia’s campaign. Garcia also opposes school choice, and attempted to hide the fact he sends one of his daughters to a charter school.

In Arizona’s U.S. Senate race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the two women expected to prevail did so. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a former Green Party activist and openly bisexual lawmaker, won a commanding victory in the Democratic primary, by about 80 percent. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), the first woman to fly in combat in the history of the Air Force, won the Republican primary with just over 50 percent of the vote, defeating populist candidates Kelli Ward and former sheriff Joe Arpaio.

On another inspiring note, McSally successfully sued the United States Department of Defense in McSally v. Rumsfeld (2001), challenging the policy forcing U.S. and British servicewomen serving in Saudi Arabia to wear the body-covering abaya when traveling off-base. In other words, she’s  a hero not just for her military service, but for the dignity of women in general.

Trump gave her his “complete and total endorsement” this morning. He did not endorse McSally against Ward or Arpaio.

Florida.

The Sunshine State saw two massive upsets on Tuesday night.

In the Democratic primary for the governor’s race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum pulled a surprise victory over former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), who was expected to prevail. Gillum rode a wave of votes from young and African-American voters, and he would be the first African-American governor of Florida. He would also be the first democratic socialist governor of Florida, having been endorsed by Bernie Sanders.

Among Republicans, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) defeated the establishment Republican who was “next in line,” Florida’s commissioner of agriculture, Adam Putnam. President Donald Trump recently endorsed DeSantis, a Tea Party candidate first elected to Congress in 2012.

In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) ran unopposed, and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) won his primary by more than 88 percent. Scott, who was also endorsed by Trump, will pose a powerful challenge to Nelson in November.

Oklahoma.

The Sooner State also witnessed an upset on Tuesday. Businessman Kevin Stitt defeated former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett in a runoff. Cornett had won the primary in June with 29 percent to Stitt’s 24 percent. Stitt spent more than Cornett in the runoff election, defeating him 55 percent to 45 percent. Cornett had more state-wide endorsements, but Stitt enjoyed support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and former Sen.s Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Stitt will face off against former Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic primary in June.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sen. Jeff Flake had endorsed Martha McSally, but McSally had rejected the endorsement. This false claim came from a tweet from President Trump. Flake did not endorse any candidate in the Arizona Senate primary.